I re-read this today and didn't hate it anymore, so I figured I'd give it a try again. As much as I at one point regretted starting this story, it kept pulling me back. So here I bring you the six chapters I removed as well as a brand new chapter (7).

First off, for any new comers, I'd say you should probably read SENIOR YEAR first for this to make sense. Or not, your choice really.

Onto the warnings. I've taken humongous liberties with regards to Spencer's job. I could have done some research I suppose, but the actual intricacies of her job is not important, her reasons for doing it is. Also, I'm gonna ask you to forgive the fact that even though it's ten years later, it's still going to be 2008. I mean, I don't wanna do the whole year 2018 thing. So just go with it please.

I don't own anything, so don't sue.

Senior Year: The Reunion

Chapter 1

Spencer's point of view.

The bastards always run.

It's always the same thing, they give me one glance, take in the blond hair and slim build and give me that look. That look that says they're laughing their asses off at me and that they think I wont be able to take them down.

So they run.

And generally speaking, they regret it.

I mean running is the one thing I know how to do after years of first failing at it horribly and then finding some comfort in it. So they run and I chase.

I also jump, tackle and make them wish they weren't born.

Basically, you shouldn't underestimate me simply because of how I look, because I can guarantee you one thing, you fuck with Spencer Carlin and you're going to get hurt.

I have a gun and I have a badge. I'm the law. It's my job to make bad people hurt.

Okay, fine. It's more like it's my job to arrest bad people and then hope the judicial system doesn't screw up somewhere along the line and let them back out on the street, but you get what I mean.

So back to them running and me chasing.

They always run.

So here I am once again chasing. The guy is pretty strung out, sweat dripping off his face and matting his already grimy hair. I'm not exactly looking forward to taking him down, despite the adrenalin pumping through me. I mean I caught a whiff of the guy when he shoved past me on the stairs and lets just say he wasn't all smelling of roses and sunshine.

So when I'm finally close enough to make a dive for him, I give him one last chance to give himself up. That and I really don't want to be washing dirty scumbag out of my hair in the morning.

"LAPD! Stop or I swear to God I'm going to shoot!"

He doesn't stop, but he makes the fatal mistake of looking over his shoulder to check if I'm actually going to go through with my threat and shoot him. As if! Paper work after a shooting is just too much effort.

So while he chances the glance over his shoulder, I get the opportunity to take him down swiftly. My shoulder hits him almost right in the stomach and I know the wind's knocked out of him. We land harder than I would have like, my wrist taking the brunt of my fall and the strung out dealer the rest. I don't give him time to react, despite the pain shooting up my arm, and immediately flip him over. I scramble up slightly and my knee most satisfyingly comes down right between his shoulder blades, my weight enough to keep him down.

"You're under arrest, dumbass!"

I finally hear Carter's heavy steps on the sidewalk behind me, having been inside the apartment as I came up the stairs and giving me and the perp a head start. He's out of breath a little, but he hasn't broken a sweat as he talks into his phone.

"Corner of 6th and Sunset. You can just send a cruiser to pick him up, Carlin's got him down."

He flipped the phone shut after a second and gave me a quick once over, making sure all my fingers and toes are accounted for. As partners go, he's the best I could have asked for.

"Cruiser should swing by anytime now. Want me to take over?"

I nod my head, lifting my knee as I jerk the scumbag up on his own two legs by his arm. I press him up against the wall and my cuffs are on him in seconds, not wanting to take any chances. These crack heads are dumb and twitchy, never a good combination. Last time I took a second too long to cuff one, I got a fork in the ass.

Yeah, that was a fun afternoon at the hospital.

The cruiser comes flying around the corner, lights on and sirens wailing and I roll my eyes. Some of these guys just watched too much tv growing up. I've got the guy in cuffs, they were all of two blocks away and they still came in blazing. I sometimes think they just like to pretend they're playing Need For Speed or something.

The radio crackles in the background as the officer steps out of his car, his burly shape going over to Carter and they shove the guy in the back of the cruiser. I stay back a little, trying to ignore the pain that's still persistently pulsating in my writs.

God, I hope I didn't crack something.

I wiggle it round a bit and I'm happy enough when the pain doesn't get any worse. It would suck to have to get a cast, especially with my job and a hyper active three year old at home.

"Come on Carlin, we need to finish up back at the apartment."

We walk back quickly, declining the offer from the officer to just drop us back in front of the building where the perp and his now dead girlfriend lived.

We'd got the call about an hour ago. Dead girl found in her apartment after argument with her druggie boyfriend. Honestly, we get those kind of calls all the time, but it's not all that often that the boyfriend then wonders down the stairs from another apartment somewhere in the building and only realizes that there are cops already in and around the building. So he runs and I give chase.

"Jesus, he really went ape shit on her, didn't he?"

Carter's voice is even as he speaks, his cool absolutely always in place. He's about as unflappable as you can get. He says we're like ice and fire, he's all cool and calm and I'm all hot and explosive. It's not my fault I'm passionate about what I do!

I look down at the dead girl and can't help that quick burn that lights up my anger.

"Yeah, he worked her over well. Come on, the ME's truck is ready to take her and we've left the dipshit boyfriend stewing for long enough."

We get out of the way and let them zip the body up, wheeling her out. Another sad case, another dead girl.

Another night on the job for me.

Strangely enough I love it, more so than I'd ever have loved medicine. Quitting school had been the best decision of my life, but I still wish to God it had happened under better circumstances. Guess life just works out how it wants to in the end and we're all just along for the ride. Sometimes the road is bumpier than we'd like, sometimes the potholes threaten to swallow us whole, but we still keep going, you know?

I watch the clock back at the station, the interview and subsequent sobbing confession long over with. The guy, Nick Stevens, had beat his girlfriend to death after she used the last of his stash. Couldn't help himself he said, he needed his stuff and the bitch used it all. His words, not mine.

The station is quiet this time of the morning, just before the morning shift shuffles in and chaos ensues as per normal. Carter's got his head down, his eyes trained on his computer screen as he fills out his report. Mine is long done, I type with all ten my fingers after all. Carter not so much. He punches his keyboard with two single fingers and a look of pure concentration.

My eyes find the pictures on my desk, the little boy with his dark hair and smiling eyes, his sister sitting next to him and biting her lip a little, my Mom and Dad smiling at the camera in crazy colored safari shirts and the dark haired woman with her head thrown back, smile wide as she shoves my shoulder. Then there's the picture of Clay. I sigh a little as I look back at the clock.

They're why I do this job, why I love it so much. Every day, by doing my job and putting away a few more assholes, I protect them. I take care of them. I failed at it once, made one of the biggest mistakes of my life and they paid for it, so I've been making it up to them every day for the last seven or eight years.

I've got so much to make up for and I don't know if I ever will, but I'm going to die trying.

Carter looks up and catches me watching the clock. He gives a smile and my heart aches just a bit, because it always reminds me a little of Clay. They both had a way of smiling so wide and so genuinely that you can't help smiling back. This is no exception and I give him a small, tired smile.

"The shift rolls in in another fifteen minutes. Get out of here, no one will miss you."

I don't argue, 'cos honestly my wrist is still a little sore and I smell like drugged out murdered. Home and a shower seems like the best thing ever right now. That and some Advil of course.

The sun beats down on me with surprising strength and I pull my sunglass on the minute my ass hits my old Mustang's seat. It miraculously starts on the first try and I smile as I drive home, the purr of the semi beat up engine lulling me into a relaxed state. Glen's halfhearted attempts at being a weekend mechanic keeps my old hunk of junk running and I'm grateful for it. I love this car, it was Clay's after all.

When I get home I almost fall over a plastic construction truck on the way to the kitchen, my wrist protesting when I grip the door frame to keep upright. I'm muttering curses under my breath as I pick my way around the assortment of toys littered on the floor a bit more carefully. There's no sound in the house, so I figure everyone is still asleep, despite them having school and work in less than an hour and a half.

The kettle is boiling by the time I'm done stuffing an apple down my throat. Chasing people can really give you an apatite, trust me, I know. Mind you, these days I don't mind running. I love the sound of my running shoes hitting the pavement, the soft thud-thud almost in rhythm with my heartbeat. I figure I might go for a run before my shower, get my mind in a nice, relaxed place.

I manage to scald my fingers with burning hot water twice before I've got two steaming cups of coffee in front of me. I figure if I'm going to wake the grumpiest morning person I know, I should come baring gifts. As a police officer, one of the first things I was taught was to never go in unprepared or without backup. It could mean the difference between life and death and I'm fond of the idea of sticking around for a while.

On my way to the master bedroom, I pass the table and sweep up four days worth of post lying on the little table in the hall. With kids in the house it's hard sometimes to keep track of simple things like opening the post and paying bills.

So I enter the bedroom quietly, post stuck between my teeth as I carry the coffee in. The alarm is five minutes away from going off anyway, but I don't wait to wake her.

I put the coffee down on the bedside table, taking a moment to just look at the woman sprawled on the bed. There's premature, minuscule little lines around her eyes and her lips are slightly open, small puffs of peaceful air escaping. It's not often that I see her like this, relaxed and still. She's always a hurricane of activity, her mind and mouth going at the speed of light sometimes.

She has a drive that I admire, a will to live and be as happy as she can that has impressed and surprised me throughout the years. After everything that happened, after everything she lost and after the...

Well, that's not my story to tell.

I look away from her as I glance down to the first letter on my lap and open it. My hand absentmindedly shakes her warm shoulder, a groan my only answer at first. Then when my fingers grip her skin tighter, my nails digging in from shock, she sits up quickly.

"The hell?!"

I stare at the invitation in my hand, my heart beat stopping as I'm suddenly bombarded with old memories. Old touches and words and smells and even sensations washing over me. All the things that I buried years ago, the guilt, the longing, all of it flooding me.

Oh God...

Ashley...

"Sunshine? What's the matter?"

I shake my head, try to gather my suddenly scattered head together as I turn and stare into concerned blue eyes.

"It's nothing, don't worry. Just drink your coffee, Carmen."

Then I'm out of the room, my feet carrying me to the front door where I lean over the porch and take a few gulps of air in. It's almost pathetically funny that I'm reacting this way, that things that I put away years ago are now coming back and biting me in the ass again. I guess you can't really ever get over the things that helped shape you, that made you who you are today.

Still, I'm annoyed...

Fucking High School Reunion!

- - -

So there's my birthday update. Hope you liked it and if you think it's got potential, please review and I'll keep going.